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STEM labs encourage kids to explore science Submitted: 09/21/2018

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WAUSAU - Tough math and science classes can scare some kids away from exploring those fields in the future.

However, the STEM Scouts counter that by showing kids how much fun they can have while learning tough topics.

Science gadgets were all over the Northcentral Technical College campus in Wausau on Friday. It's all to get kids more involved in science.

According to coordinator Jannah Brandt, the atmosphere at Wausau's Northcentral Technical College could only be described in two words: controlled chaos. 

"We [had] over 100 different hands-on STEM demonstrations," said Brandt.

The halls were filled with gadgets, games, and over 4,000 children. This included seventh grader Brenna Dulak, who said she enjoyed learning about how to incorporate science and technology into daily activities.

"It's actually pretty cool to be in the science and technology," said Dulak. "I just did [an activity] where you use a circuit and you play the piano with different kinds of fruit."

The Boy Scouts of America created the STEM Scouts lab, which is open to boys and girls. It promotes science, technology, engineering, and math for middle school students.

"Not only the state, but the national government has put a focus on STEM education," said event organizer Darren Ackley. "[They're] making sure we can stay competitive globally."

Labs will open in Merrill and Rhinelander soon.

"Lots of jobs here need STEM backgrounds," said Brandt. "So we need those different educational programs that students can experience."

On Saturday, there will be another event in Wausau. It's open to the public and kids can return with their families to experiment more.



Story By: Angela Kim

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 LOCAL NEWS

ONEIDA COUNTY -
Many people lost power Thursday night from the storms in the Northwoods.
Wisconsin Public Service was still out repairing lines Friday afternoon.

Wind gusts reached 46 miles per hour Thursday night heading into Friday morning, causing trees and branches to fall on power lines. WPS also reported lightning damage.      

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RHINELANDER - John Mikalauski, the manager at Birchfield Nurseries in Rhinelander, has had a great growing year because of hotter than normal temperatures.

But now he says it's time to get ready for a chill.

"If gets to thirty degrees, I don't care. It's just fine," said Mikalauski.

He thinks you should welcome the new season for the plants in your yard, too.

"A healthy plant makes it through the winter a lot better than a stressed plant," he said. "We want to shut them down so they can prepare themselves for the winter time."

Mikalauski advises that plants must go dormant. Cool and damp soil is key to help them sleep until spring, except for sensitive plants.

"The ones that are going to be touchy is some of your vegetables and definitely your annual flowers," he said. "Those are the ones you are going to want to protect. You're going to want to put some bed sheets over them or something to keep the frost off them."

Mikalauski says as long as gardeners stop the growing phase and let their plants rest, they should make it through the winter just fine.

The National Weather Service issued a frost advisory for Friday.


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RHINELANDER - Social media can serve as a great tool for law enforcement. But at times it can also be a problem.

On Thursday, the Rhinelander Police Department shared a concerning Facebook post in hopes of getting some accurate information. 

The police department became aware of a post made in a page on Facebook. The post describes a suspicious white van patrolling a neighborhood off Driscoll Road. 
 
The author of the original post claimed two men were in the van approaching children.

Police Chief Lloyd Gauthier says any suspicious activity should be reported directly to the police department. 

"We need to be able to have that face-to-face conversation so we can ask those specific questions so that we get facts and not just a bunch of hearsay or rumor mill," said Gauthier. "We really need to know exactly what the information is." 

Gauthier says the department doesn't monitor Facebook 24-seven, and if someone reports suspicious activity over the phone immediately, it allows police to respond to the situation quickly.

"Our mission statement is to work in partnership with our community and we value the fact that people want to share that information with us on social media," said Gauthier. "But again, there's a time and a place about, 'How should I share that?'"

Gauthier added that they did eventually speak with the original author of the post and that police are looking into that situation.


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MADISON - Each year the state recognizes organizations making a difference in education. A Rhinelander group earned a Friend of Education Award for the first time Thursday.

Rhinelander Partners in Education works to connect students with community employers to develop learning opportunities inside and outside the classroom. 

State School Superintendent Tony Evers presented WJFW's Ben Meyer and other PIE members with the award during a ceremony at the capitol.

"It felt great considering that we are [a smaller] school… it's pretty amazing to be recognized as one of the five making a difference in education in the state," said PIE Vice President Teri Maney.

Maney says the award represents the work of the entire community.

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 REGIONAL NEWS

MADISON - A federal judge has ordered the state of Wisconsin and its insurers to pay for transgender transition surgery for its employees.

U.S. District Judge William Conley says there's no legal reason to exclude medically necessary care for the employees.

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MIDDLETON -

The latest report on the active shooter at a commercial building in a Madison suburb.


12:20 p.m.


A city official says four people have been shot, but none fatally, during a shooting at a software company near Madison, Wisconsin.


The shooting occurred Wednesday morning in Middleton. City Administrator Mike Davis says the suspected shooter was also injured. The victims' conditions weren't immediately known.


The shooting was reported around 10 a.m. at WTS Paradigm. Davis says police have lifted a lockdown


A hospital spokesman says four people are being treated at University Hospital in Middleton.





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MADISON - Republican state Senator Steve Nass is looking to kill or delay new regulations Gov. dScott Walker ordered to slow the spread of chronic wasting disease.

Walker ordered the Department of Natural Resources in May to develop rules requiring deer farmers to upgrade their fences and restrict deer carcass movement.

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RED CLIFF - The Red Cliff Band of Lake Superior Chippewa says plans are underway for a cell tower on its reservation in northern Wisconsin, a need that was underscored by the recent drowning deaths of four family members in the Apostle Islands.

The family's calls for help on Lake Michigan went unanswered for hours due to poor cell coverage.

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